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Virology. 2009 Feb 5;384(1):21-7. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.11.030. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Substantial envelope-specific CD8 T-cell immunity fails to control SIV disease.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Melbourne, Parkville Victoria, Australia.


It is unknown which HIV proteins to target by vaccination in order to generate the most effective CD8 T-cell immunity. We recently immunized SIV(mac251)-infected pigtail macaques with Gag peptides or a cocktail of peptides spanning all SIV proteins, including SIV Env. High-level SIV Env-specific CD8 T-cell responses were generated and 7 novel Env-specific CD8 T-cell epitopes in 10 animals were mapped. Env-specific CD8 T-cell responses were significantly inferior to Gag-specific responses, and no better than unvaccinated control animals, in the control of SIV replication and prevention of disease. Escape mutations emerged within several Env-specific CTL epitopes, suggesting at least some pressure imparted by the Env CTL responses, but this did not correlate with significantly reduced SIV replication. We conclude Env-specific CTL may not be the most effective response to induce by vaccination.

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